Christmas Countdown Day 12: The Holiday

Two women at their breaking point need an escape from their miserable lives for the holidays, and take to the internet to organise a house swap. Things are a little more dramatic though when one is in an English village, and the other is a Hollywood advertising super-star.

This movie is two movies, happening simultaneously like some sort of artistic experiment. One of these is a good movie, the other isn’t. By no means is this a film-killer, but it’s strange that one half can be so charming and full of romance and the other can be so slow and lacking in emotions.

Kate Winslet is a miserable journalist, and has been having a loveless relationship with her boss for several years. Finding out that he’s now engaged to the woman he’s been cheating on her with is the final straw, it’s time for new people in a new place. Cameron Diaz is a high-flying Hollywood trailer maker, who after finding out that her own partner has been playing the field, comes to a similar conclusion. The pair find each other online and agree to house-swap for the holiday.

Kate finds herself loving the Hollywood life, making friends with song-writer, Jack Black, and some retired movie-makers. Maybe Dawson has soured me on Hollywood-types and their masturbatory dialogue about film history, but this half really drags. I have no idea why she’s top of the billing, because I swear she has much less screen-time than her American counterpart.

I remembered this part being my favourite as a child, which made this rewatch just a little disappointing to be frank. Jack Black is a little pathetic as a character, which I assume was meant to be endearing but all these years later it just makes me annoyed with him for being so spineless. Kate is nice, but she just doesn’t get the time she deserves to shine. From the start you’d think this is her movie, but she feels like a non-entity, her biggest contribution is having dreamy brother Jude Law and giving him an excuse to be in the movie.

Meanwhile, we have an absolute banger of a romance film between Cameron and Jude Law, Kate’s brother in the piece. The pair oozes romantic chemistry, have amazingly cute  dialogue and it’s very refreshing. As a benefit of sharing half their movie with Kate’s, they have no time to waste and shag within a few minutes of meeting.

Jude Law is an absolute gem this movie, playing maybe the most perfect romantic lead in a film, while never being nauseating about it. They also trick you so many times, you think they are about to do a liar reveal moment, but no, he’s actually a dreamy single-dad on the side and not a some sort of player. Probably the biggest crime of the movie is the way Diaz pronounces his name, “Graham”, but we can set aside the little things for now I think for the sake of love.

I really liked the Cameron Diaz half of this movie, and while I remember liking Kate Winslet half it was so slow to sit through. Maybe have the remote to hand for some fast-forwarding, although it’s all a bit of harmless fun. Tomorrow I watch a movie I’ve not had a chance to see yet, Last Christmas!

Published by James Sumner

Writer, reviewer & journalist. BA: Multimedia Journalism. MA: PR & Digital Comms.

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